Dr. Qing Wang, a former Cleveland Clinic employee, was arrested by the FBI today at his home in Shaker Heights and charged in federal court on allegations that he failed to disclose funding and employment in China to the National Institute of Health, from which he received millions of dollars in grants.
The Feds allege Wang, who is charged with false claims and wire fraud connected to the $3.6 million he received from the NIH, also was part of China’s ‘Thousand Talents Program,’ which was used to recruit scientists, doctors and other experts who could acquire and transfer IP from American companies and institutions back to China. That got Wang $3 million from China for research support.
“As this case demonstrates, Chinese government-supported talent plans continue to encourage people, regardless of nationality, to commit crimes, such as fraud to obtain U.S. taxpayer-funded research,” Robert R. Wells, acting assistant director of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division, said in a release.
“As alleged in the complaint, this defendant misled the National Institutes of Health about support he received and research he conducted in the People’s Republic of China,” Justin Herdman, the U.S. Attorney of the Northern District of Ohio, said. “Federal law enforcement remains vigilant to fraudulent claims for grant support from any researcher who fails to disclose support from foreign governments and competing research interests in other countries. We appreciate the cooperation of this defendant’s former employer, the Cleveland Clinic, in the investigation and highlight the important partnerships between federal agencies, law enforcement, and the private sector demonstrated in this case.”
The grants for HUST and from the National Natural Science Foundation of China were for the same work for which Wang had collected funds from NIH, which was unaware of the Chinese grants.
“I’m pleased that our committee investigation and resulting report last year has spurred additional action by federal law enforcement to hold China accountable. For too long, China has exploited the lack of transparency in our education system to steal our taxpayer-funded research and innovation and the federal government has done little or nothing to stop it,” Sen. Rob Portman said in a statement. “I commend DOJ, U.S. Attorney Herdman and the FBI for arresting another alleged member of China’s Thousand Talents Program, after additional arrests around the country have been announced over the last week. I will be introducing bipartisan legislation soon to safeguard American innovation, hold countries like China accountable for their actions, and ensure our world-class research enterprise is protected here in America. China’s ongoing theft of America’s research and innovation must stop.”
Wang, who was also a faculty member at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, specialized in the genetics of cardiovascular and neurological diseases.
His Clinic webpage has been deleted but can be viewed here thanks to the magic of the Wayback Machine.